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the Max Headroom chronicles


Max Headroom is probably most widely known for the 1987-1988 US television series and the lengthy and ubiquitous run of Coca-Cola ads in 1986. Information about the series episodes makes up the most complete and detailed portion of his telehistory, and the Coke ads are well-remembered among both collectors and the general public.

However, Max had a long and complex history that led to those keystone roles. He originated two full years before the series premiered, and for a time seemed to be everywhere - in both 'pro per' and as the subject of parodies and copycats.

He first appeared in the 1985 UK telefilm on Channel Four. The straggling series episodes shown in the spring of 1988 were among his last major sightings.

There is a massive amount of research and verification to be done on these other shows, as none have been preserved and documented as well as the telefilm and series. A full chronology of Max's history is under development, but for the time being, this page is arranged and annotated with the time frame of each appearance.

Because this is an evolving page, I have used a mix of styles. Some entries below are summaries for which full links will follow in time. Some links connect to pages within the "mainstream" of this site such as the UK telefilm and US series entries. The rest are new and separate entries on their respective topics.

(For the many secondary, commercial iterations of Max - that is, Max products such as toys, t-shirts and the like - see the evolving Museum of Maxxiana.)

Original Appearances

Pending the full Max chronology, this section serves as a chronological listing of all original appearances of Matt Frewer as Max Headroom.

[4 April 1985] Original UK Telefilm, Channel Four

Local link.

[1985] The Max Headroom Show (UK, Channel Four)

There were six to twelve individual shows, possibly in two separate runs. Details are forthcoming.

[1985-1986?] Radio Rentals television rental service ads (UK)

Details forthcoming. At least one example can be found on YouTube.

[1986] C-C-Catch What Wave? - Max Headroom & the New Coke Ads

A tale of marketing misjudgement and a sacrificial star.

[1986] "Paranoimia" by Art of Noise

Art of Noise released the original song on their 1986 album "In Visible Silence." Shortly thereafter, the remix and video with Max voicing the lyrics was released. Details forthcoming.

[1986?] Interview with David Letterman

Max famously appears on Letterman. May be found on YouTube.

[1986] Extended Telefilm, Cinemax

Local link. Believed to be the 'pilot' for the talk show that followed.

[1986] The Original Max Talking Headroom Show (Cinemax, US)

Six episodes of this talk/interview/music show appeared on Cinemax. Details are forthcoming.

[January 1987] Twenty Questions for Max Headroom, Playboy Magazine

Also includes the "Maxine Legroom" parody, see below.

[1987?] The Max Headroom Xmas Special (Max Headroom's Giant Christmas Turkey)

The dating of this item is uncertain. It may have been rerun in a subsequent year.

[1987-1988] Max Headroom (ABC series)

Local link.

[1988-1989] Comic Relief/"Red Nose Night" (UK - reported)

If the dating is correct on this report, this would be among the last of Max's original appearances.

[2007] Channel Four promotional ads

Matt Frewer and Max return to film four ads promoting Channel Four's switch to digital. Details forthcoming.

Secondary Appearances

This section lists all appearances of Max and related topics that are not primary appearances by Matt Frewer, including parodies, impersonations and copycats.

Parodies & Clones - F-F-Funnymen and a Fat Target

Media copies (and copy-cats) of Max. Presently includes Mad Magazine, Playboy parody "Maxine Legroom," "Doonesbury," "Back to the Future II," "Carmen Sandiego" and the X-rated "Maxine."

[20 April 1987] Newsweek Magazine cover & article

One of Max's major non-television appearances. Link is currently to another site.

Organization, format, design and all original content ©2005-2009 James Gifford